Having only read two 5-star reads this year, I am on the lookout for more next-level, deeply affecting reads that will leave a lasting impression on me. One of my 5-stars for 2021 is a non-fiction feminist collection of essays and speeches called Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde and you can read my review here! I was thrilled to learn about the recent re-opening of bookstores and libraries across the U.K., so earlier today I paid a visit to my local Waterstones and acquired even more books to add to my growing collection as pictured below. One of these books even made it today’s list! Here are my FIVE 5-star predictions of the books I have yet to read for the rest of this year.
1. Afropean by Johny Pitts
Afropean is the winner of the 2020 Jhalak Prize for BAME writers and follows television presenter and photographer, Johny Pitts on a journey across Europe as he seeks to learn more about the African identity within Europe and how the life and culture of these descendants has formed part of the fabric of continental Europe. I have already started reading this most stirring book and I already deem it to be an essential book for any age and I am extremely certain that I will maintain that view after I’ve finished it and far beyond!
2. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo
Next we have a young adult fantasy sequel, namely, Crooked Kingdom which is the second book in the Six of Crows Grishaverse duology by Leigh Bardugo. As someone who is not a huge fan of young adult books, fantasy or otherwise, I was surprised by how much I loved the first book Six of Crows. It is nothing short of epic and follows six outcasts on an impossibly dangerous mission to kidnap a valuable prisoner from an impenetrable stronghold. Six of Crows is full of clever ploys and heart-racing action. I have also started reading Crooked Kingdom and I feel immediately transported within its pages whenever I open the book.
3. If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin
I regret the fact that I have not yet read a James Baldwin novel, essay or poem, considering how impactful and influential a figure of social activism he is. It’s for this reason that I am particularly anticipating reading If Beale Street Could Talk, a book about the moving love story between Tish and Fonny through the light of social injustice. I expect this book to be a stirring read with a powerful message.
4. The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy
The God of Small Things was one of my favourite books of 2020 and may very well be one of my favourite books of all time. Twenty years after this most provocative, award-winning debut published in 1997, Arundhati Roy finally released another novel, one I am highly geared up to read. It is a collection of stories, set in Dehli, India and recounts the lives of a group of characters who have fought to overcome hardship as they each discover the restorative power of love. In an interview the the Guardian newspaper, Roy compared writing this novel to the formation of sedimentary rock gathering layers, in explaining why it took twenty years for her to release a second novel. I love the analogy and look forward to to seeing how this sense of weathered resilience translates through her latest book, The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness.
5. Natives: Race And Class In The Ruins Of An Empire by Akala
I love books that confront head-on the culture of denialism concerning systemic racism in the U.K. and this book does exactly that! Natives draws upon the author’s own lived experiences with racial conflict and uses this to explore the hidden history of black people in the U.K. I expect this book to be a Black History Month staple, that I will most definitely be discussing again soon. But more than that, I anticipate this book to be another one of those necessary and timeless books that everyone needs to read!